Pope Benedict XVI has been urged to act on autism after Adam Race, a 13 year old boy with severe autism was banned from the Roman Catholic Church of St.Joseph in Bertha, Minnesota by his priest Fr.Daniel Walz. According to court documents, Fr. Daniel Walz took out a temporary restraining order on the boy with autism and his mother Carol Race on the grounds of disruptive behaviour.' They were threatened with arrest by the Sheriff of Todd County if they entered the church for Mass.
Campaigners are now calling on the Vatican to provide guidelines to all Roman Catholic Churches around the world on how the clergy and church authorities should react to children and adults with autism and Asperger's syndrome.
There are 60 million people with autism around the world and churches have also seen an increase in numbers of children with autism coming through their doors. According to the CDC, 1 in 150 children in the United States has autism.
An appeal has gone out to Pope Benedict at the Vatican in Rome to speak out on the complex needs of children and adults with autism - as no Pope has publicly addressed the issue. The need for instructions from the Pope in order to prevent controversies such as the banning of Adam Race from his church in Bertha, Minnesota, are essential, according to campaigners. They are calling for greater understanding of the condition and for dialogue between religious organisations and parents and carers.
Rev. Daniel Walz, pastor at St. Joseph, filed a petition with the court saying that Adam’s large size and “disruptive and dangerous behavior” posed a risk to his congregation. Pope Benedict has been urged to intervene in the Bertha Case.
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